Mountain biodiversity


Mountains loom large in some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes.
Their unique topography, compressed climatic zones and isolation have created the conditions for a wide spectrum of life forms.

Half of the world’s biodiversity hotspots are concentrated in mountains and mountains support approximately one-quarter of terrestrial biological diversity. Mountains are home to rare species of plants and animals. These include increasingly rare animals such as gorillas, mountain lions, and the majestic tahr or strikingly beautiful plants such as orchids and lobelias.

A large portion of the world's most precious gene pools (for agriculture and medicine) are preserved in mountains. Crops that are important for food security, such as maize, potatoes, barley, sorghum, tomatoes, beans and apples, have been diversified in mountains and an array of domestic animals - sheep, goats, yaks, llamas and alpacas - have originated or been diversified in mountains. Other crops, such as wheat, rye, rice, oats and grapes, have found new homes in the mountains and evolved into many varieties. Coffee and tea, with their roots in Ethiopia and the Himalayan region, are mountain crops as well. Medicinal plants are one of the most valuable resources from high altitudes. This rich biodiversity holds cultural, ecological and economic value. In the Andes, for example, farmers know of as many as 200 different varieties of indigenous potatoes and, in Nepal, they farm approximately 2 000 varieties of rice.

Climate change, poverty, commercial mining, logging and poaching all exact a heavy toll on mountain biodiversity. The sustainable management of mountain biodiversity has increasingly been recognized as a global priority. The Convention on Biological Diversity adopted a Programme of Work on Mountain Biological Diversity in 2004, which includes a set of actions and targets addressing characteristics and problems that are specific to mountain ecosystems. 

 

Mountains and Sacred Landscapes

Mountains and Sacred Landscapes

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The India China Institute (ICI) at The New School, the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture (ISSRNC), American University’s Center for Latin America and Latino Studies (CLALS) and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) announce an international conference on the theme of mountains...

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Fifth Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership

Fifth Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership

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The Fifth Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership (MP) was to take place 21-22 October 2016 in Mbale, Uganda, but has been postponed to 2017. The new date and venue are to be determined.

This Global Meeting will provide members with an opportunity to discuss delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals,...

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Trailing of the Sheep Festival

Trailing of the Sheep Festival

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The annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival celebrates for the 20th year in three picturesque venues in Idaho's Wood River Valley: Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley. Each fall, the Trailing of the Sheep Festival celebrates the over 150-year tradition of moving sheep, or “trailing”, from high mountain summer pastures down through the...

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Call for input for Snow Leopard Day

Call for input for Snow Leopard Day

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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Government of Kyrgyzstan and the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) Secretariat are planning a high-level panel event and the launch of a publication for International Snow Leopard Day 2016 in close collaboration with the Global Environment Facility...

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Newsletter about mountains in Argentina

Newsletter about mountains in Argentina

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The National Mountain Committee of Argentina has issued the 12th edition of its newsletter, which outlines progress made on the Telefood project. Two aspects of the project came to an end in April and in July 2016, respectively. The first was aimed at making students’ diets more healthy at the...

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Japan celebrates the first-ever Mountain Day

Japan celebrates the first-ever Mountain Day

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Japan celebrates its newest national holiday “Yama no Hi”, or Mountain Day, for the first time today, 11 August 2016. The holiday has been introduced for the purpose of celebrating a day which offers people the opportunity to come close to mountains and appreciate their benefits. On this day, the...

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